Legend has it that Philip II of Macedon sent a message to the Spartans to surrender, “for if I bring my army into your land...” they’ll be in trouble, basically.
The Spartans’ reply? “If.”
There’s a little of that in Fiat Chrysler’s five-year plan investors’ day today, which has so far thrown out the announcements of a new Alfa Romeo 8C, four electric Maseratis, a tough new baby Jeep, potentially world-beating autonomy, and more announcements to come.
Following lukewarm responses to what should have been huge-selling FCA products, like the 124, Fiat 500X and 500L, the culling of several American models due to slow sales and the brutal demise of Lancia, it might be sensible to consume this seemingly world-beating plan with a pinch of salt. After all, not long ago, Marchionne was suggesting a merger with General Motors, while Maserati - its flagship brand - has been left to languish with middling products and an ageing flagship.
Having only just cleared its debt, albeit six months early, these plans are remarkably ambitious from a CEO who seemingly thought the company would be better off being absorbed into another.
Nonetheless, these announcements are hugely exciting, Tesla-level hype-creating, petrolhead-baiting promises, which if their subjects make it to the production line (the Jeep Grand Wagoneer will have been ten years in the making, upon arrival), will take FCA into a new golden age; an extraordinary turnaround from a few years ago, when things were looking more and more bleak.
But there’s that word again: ‘if’.